gift of NYC experience for foreign fan of city or ... a cool NYC poster
November 14, 2018 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend in Germany who is a big fan of New York City, and who has been there many times. I'd like to get her an "experience" present that she can use next time she's there. See inside for the main complication, and the fallback idea ...

Most often she's passing through on business, but lately may have her family with her (husband and currently-4-yo boy). I don't know if she'll have her family in tow next time, but I don't want to get her something that's difficult to enjoy if she does have them.

A gift cert to an out-of-the way museum would be great for just her, I think, but if she's got the kid then not so much. I don't think she's big on theatrical productions. She likes just exploring the city, and certainly has seen the most obvious tourist traps already, so something that draws her to a more distant, unique area of the city would be neat. OK, not too distant.

If I can't find the right thing, my fallback is to get her a nice poster of NYC, suitable for framing (I won't be able to frame it myself as it will need to travel first). My favorite NYC graphic of all time is this "New Yorker's view of the world" (from 1976, but much parodied / parroted since). I'm thinking of something along that vein, maybe more Euro-centric, like this one found via some googling. Another idea is a stylized map of the subway system, like this.

Any ideas, in either category? Budget is up to $100, much less is OK though.
posted by intermod to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, just came across a great collection of "pictorial" NYC maps here (via one of the links above).
posted by intermod at 8:33 AM on November 14, 2018

The Massimo Vignelli 1972 subway map is a design classic and frames beautifully.
posted by lalex at 8:44 AM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

I don't see that they have gift certificates but if she visits with her family the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn is great for kids. Maybe a gift membership if you know she is going with her family?
posted by plastic_animals at 8:51 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, my experience is that little kids like museums. So I wouldn't necessarily rule that out.

Though if you wanted, it might be nice to offer to go along--a higher adult-to-kid ratio could make it easier for her to enjoy the parts she likes at her own pace.
posted by bfields at 8:53 AM on November 14, 2018

One of my favorite NYC map posters is from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.: "Brooklyn and Environs, with Zones and Locales Shown to Serve in the Struggle Against Villains Wherever They May Be Found." Requires (and rewards) a sense of humor. Definitely suitable for framing and in fact a reasonably detailed map despite its silliness.

Seconding the Transit Museum. Also, the Museum of Math is a great trip with or without kids. Four years old would be a little young for some of it, but there's still lots for them to press and twist and stomp on, etc.
posted by miles per flower at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Transit Museum's shop has some great gift options and I believe they ship worldwide. She could absolutely do a museum with a four year old-believe only Frick & Neue disallow children
Also check the Museum of the City of New Yor'k's shop, they have some gems
posted by TravellingCari at 9:46 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how a gift certificate to a museum would work on a practical level, mainly because I'm not sure that museums offer gift certificates for admission. (I'm happy to be proved wrong, though, it's just not something I've ever heard museums do.)

But if you do find that they do, I can definitely recommend a kid-friendly museum in an out-of-the-way area, and one fascinating enough that solo adults would be interested - the New York Hall of Science out in Flushing Park. It's hands-on, educational, and in a historic building - Flushing Park was the former site of two World's Fairs, and the NY Hall of Science is housed in a former exhibit hall from the 1965 fair.

Also, right close by you have two or three other historic/museum attractions right there in the park - the Queens Museum of Art is a short walk away from the Hall of Science, and was also in a former Worlds' Fair building, this time from 1934 - and that same building got re-used in 1965. And, it was also the original site of the United Nations. The Museum also has an exhibit on the two Worlds' Fairs, and includes the New York Panorama, a scale architectural model of the entire city.

And just outside the Queens Museum of Art is the Unisphere, which you've seen in countless films, as well as the ruins of the New York State Pavillion, which you have also seen in countless films (you can't go inside, unfortunately, but you'll recognize the flying-saucer tower things).

That's all in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is accessible on the 7 train and the Long Island Railroad, both of which have stops right in the park.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

New Yorkistan
posted by vrakatar at 10:47 AM on November 14, 2018

Yes, her 4 year old would love the NY Hall of Science (as mine does), so definitely recommend it even if you can't get a gift-certificate there.
posted by valeries at 10:50 AM on November 14, 2018

The Transit Museum in Brooklyn is THE BEST and it is perfect for a family with a young kiddo.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2018

I have a print of this Jenni Sparks map of NYC and I am always seeing new details in it.
posted by crocomancer at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the answers so far!
posted by intermod at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2018

With kids, I think the Transit Museum is an excellent idea.

(I think four might be a tiny bit young for MoMath.)

Most people would consider it wasteful to go all the way out to Flushing without also hitting up some of the excellent Chinese food on the 7, if that would be an added attraction for the park idea.
posted by praemunire at 1:03 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

lineposters of nyc is cool for transit nerds
posted by lalochezia at 10:11 AM on November 15, 2018

Really great stuff here, thank you all so much. I think I'll get her a poster (haven't decided which one yet) and then prepare a map (by hand) with some suggested sights for her next visit. Gotta get them out to Flushing :)
posted by intermod at 3:07 PM on November 15, 2018

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